PART 2 - WHO AND WHAT IS MACARENSES?
Welcome! to the mind of Macarenses; that unknown graphic agitator, fantasist and self-publicist. Inside you will find my images, words and ideas. There is much ranting, sickness and weirdness. Yet, there is also hope.
You are more than welcome to look, smell, touch and rub the journals. You may even enjoy them but I very much doubt it. Macarenses hopes you don't enjoy them because he really doesn't like you, the acquiescent majority.
IMAGE OF THE ARTIST
THE NAME AND THE IMAGE
The name Macarenses comes from the book 'Utopia' by Thomas More, published in 1516. Macarenses is a land not far from Utopia itself and is translated as Happiland, from Makar meaning happy. Of course, I have used this name as a pun on our present state of affairs.......
The image is my avatar and combines many influences; the face is like that of Munch's 'The Scream' while the emaciated like figure was often used in german expressionist art. The expressionists saw a skeletal figure a perfect representation of what man had become in the modern world. The figure looks scared and pained but at the same time threatening. You will have to make your mind up for yourself if the figure is hurting the small people under him or whether he is protecting them.
Along with the 'Matisse' text, the intention is to create a feeling of anxiety and terror.
WHAT IS MACARENSES?
It is the name of the artist and the journal. More than that it is a vehicle for personal expression as I find myself increasingly needing to express my thoughts and emotions about the world. They are my way of protesting about all that is wrong with this world; my primal scream you could call it. Macarenses is not about art but about life. The journal and the images have allowed me to focus my critique of the current world and ideals of a new world, into a programme of action. The journal is a response against the debacle of civilisation and its values. All current language, intellect and art represents the reality of this degenerate civilisation and is therefore an accomplice in this debacle. As a result I stand for aggressive iconoclasm and I will attack existing canons of reason, taste, hierarchy of order and discipline in society. I will not compromise with a society in decay so I vow to start again. Graphic agitation will be the form of protest. The world needs direct action and graphic will be my weapon. All images are open to use by individuals/groups who are involved in some form of activism (i.e. those issues/campaigns highlighted in my 'Activist' page). The images are 'copyleft': meaning they are copyright free and anyone can use images for free as long as they are not used for profit. You can add in your own banner information and even a new title if you wish. I do ask that I am notified before usage of an image (so I can get involved perhaps) and that I am credited.
The art movement I have started is to be called 'Grotesqueism'. The movement aims to bring expression to the modern alienated human condition. This means the mixing of forms, changes of scale, elongations, compressions and reversals, a distorted reflection which shows the world in a different light, a different perspective, the world re-imagined in a dream.
The website is not just my artwork but it is a storehouse of inspirations packed from floor to ceiling with words and images ranging from found items to collectable objects. There are book lists, web-links, information on artists and much much more.....
The subject matter of my protests are outlined in sections below.
Below is the 1st Manifesto taken from Issue 8.
IDEAS BEHIND THE JOURNAL FORMAT
I have been inspired by the ideals and the formats of the avant-garde magazines of the early 20th century, primarily "L'Assiette au Beurre", which ran from 1901-1912. Its prominent artists attacked virtually every politically and socially controversial topic including harmful government (at home and abroad), the corrupt church, the horrors of war, the monstrous effects of the capitalism system and the crimes against fellow men by those who make up the Establishment. The phrase "L'Assiette au Beurre" means literally 'the butter dish' and symbolizes the 'fat of the land', the wealth amassed and jealously guarded by those in power. As well as the ideals behind the magazine, it was the format has influenced me. In it's best days the magazine was fully pictorial and each issue was dedicated to a particular theme and illustrated by a single artist.
Many art groupings at the turn of the 20th century wanted to disseminate their controversial thoughts against the sanctity of art, politics, society and culture and often produced their own magazines. The Futurists, Dadaists, Constructivists and Surrealists all produced their own magazines. There are also individual artists who have saw a place for a published Journal of their work - Felix Topolski and Wyndham Lewis being two of them.
As well as artist groups magazines, there were those which were overtly political. The magazine "AIZ (Arbeiter Illustrierten Zeitung) [Changed name to VI (Volks Illustrierte) in 1936] was a workers newspaper containing anti-Nazi photomontages by John Heartfield. Political animals like George Grosz involved himself in magazines which bucked authority and put him at odds with the establishment of the day.
And today self publishing 'zines have become a web phenomenon. It seems everyone is doing it.
USE OF PHOTOMONTAGE
Photomontage was chosen as the main art form because it belongs to the tradition of revolution in art. The Dada movement made the most use of photomontage to convey their message. They cut up images of the modern world; of capitalism, consumerism, and war etc., thereby creating a dismembering of reality. Photomontage is an art of immediacy that has been produced for a reason, not just for aesthetic purposes. The original becomes a template for mass reproduction and it is the ultimate democratic art, often created in times of despair. The great proponent of this iconoclastic use of photomontage was John Heartfield. More recently Peter Kennard and John Yates have taken on the baton. Ralph Steadman has also found space to combine photomontage with his drawing to create new realities.
THEMES IN WORK
Macarenses reacts strongly to the present, never concealing hatred for our current civilisation and where it is heading. The capitalist system, the government, the church, the monarchy, the corporate machine and the aristocracy are all targets for me. I strive to release the shackles of deference and reverence to these monsters. I aim to show what effects our current political systems and the capitalist system are having on our planet and also on man's health, both physical and mental.
Specific issues I protest about are:
* warfare * corporate domination * the ruinous capitalist system * environmental damage * exploitation of workers * arms trade * corruption in government * criminalisation of communities * mental breakdown of our civilisation *
I do not see a world which respects and protects basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. With our rights withheld and /or under attack our hearts and minds are under siege. So what we are experiencing and how we are reacting is just as we should. Poor mental health conditions are not personal disorders at all but a measure of our society's dysfunction, not our own. They are rational responses to what is happening in our world and proof of our desire to protest and change things for the better.
In this the 21st century the battle lines are drawn between a society demanding its future back from those that have taken it away from us.
I have mentioned already the inspirations behind the format of the journal and also the use of photomontage/collage as the main form of graphic expression. I have also mentioned some art movements and individual artists in the passing.
cubism, rayonnism, futurism, vorticism, dadaism, constructivism and expressionism
I am drawn to modernism in art, specifically the avant-garde art movements of the early 20th century; the modernity of their techniques and their inventiveness in new form and formats. The desire of the modernists to sweep all that went before and speak to a new modern audience has not been surpassed since. The emphasis of the avant-garde movements was expression about their current times. The movements made these statements avoiding the escapism of classicism and impressionism. Art had a function of expressing the experience of man and in many cases that meant being a clarion call of protest against the current times. The artists were experiencing modernity which meant the increasing control of men's lives by machines and outside social forces and they felt that as a result man's freedom was being lost. The best exponents of this pessimism were the expressionists, mainly in Germany. Some artists were more directly involved in utilising art for a specific political purpose, specifically some of the dada-ists in Germany after the First World War. At the same time there was the revolution in Russia and the new beginning seemed on the way. Artists saw that they had a central role in the moral and political regeneration of man and were not just mere witnesses.
the grotesque and fantastic
Fantastic creatures such as satyrs, demons, witches and monsters have featured in artistic imagery throughout the centuries. They have been used to give expression to religious beliefs, cultural anxieties, literary subjects or psychological insights and have provided fertile ground for artists' imaginings. Central to many artists' visualisations of these creatures has been the grotesque body. Characterised by the unnatural combination of body parts (human, bestial and other) or by the distortion of form, the grotesque body has featured in Christian imagery of the Devil and of Hell, in Romantic explorations of the irrational, in Symbolist divinations of man's inner world, and in twentieth-century visualisations of the alienated human condition.
(Artists have been grouped according to what their main influences were. Some artists will be in more than one section).
Heartfield, Cieslewitz, Kennard, Yates, Vaucher - for political photomontage
Hoch, Ernst, Satty - for beauty in photomontage
Heartfield, Grosz, Kennard - for protest art
Arcimboldo, Schiele, Bacon - for distortion of the body
Sutherland - for distortion of the natural and metamorphis
Klimt, Moser, Mackintosh - for decorative beauty
Picasso, Ernst - for constant inventiveness in medium
Kupka, Grosz, Peake, Steadman, Scarfe, - for grotesque satirical illustration
Goya, Kubin, Martini - for the grotesque
Bosch, Ensor, Rops, Klinger - for the comic grotesque
Ensor, Posada - for obsession with skeletons
Goya, Munch, Kollwitz - for the darkness
Dore, Blake, Piranesi, Feininger, Vassos, Escher, Finsterlin - for the invention of worlds
Gaudi, Steiner, Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Metropolis - for the realised invention of worlds
Goya, Dix, Coe - for war cycle etchings
Gies, Goetz, Lipchitz, Neizvestny - for showing what the plastic arts can realise
The bibliography in the 'Activist' pages is a reflection of my interests as well.
IDEAS BEHIND EACH JOURNAL ISSUE
Issue 24; grotesques I: after the fall
In the great tradition of creating grotesques I have my own.
Issue 23; someone must have been telling lies about Macarenses., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested
Title (altered) is first line from 'The Trial' by Franz Kafka. Like Josef K, Macarenses cannot make sense of the structures that interfere in his life and the altered reality they create.
Issue 22; the world died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure
Title (altered) is first line from 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus. Macarenses also feels he sometimes lacks the basic emotions, reactions and reasoning that are required to care about what is happening in the current world. The only way to describe this world is with surreal images.
Issue 21; man (29), GSOH, Nihilist seeks nothing. Box 240576
The images speak of destruction and isolation. Nihilist statements in Latin, as follows: reject everything, believe nothing, it has nothing to do with us, there is no reason why, it is no use and destroy to rebuild. Words by Little League Rebellion.
Issue 20; la danse macabre
This issue laments how man has become separated from his relationship with mother nature. This relationship is spiritual because it connects man with where he has come from and it is the force that gives man life. Man still seeks out this spiritual feeling yet is finding it increasingly difficult because that relationship has been compromised by man's actions. The effects of an ever increasing population pursuing rampant capitalist consumption and the resulting pollution has scarred mother nature, so much so that Macarenses cannot find what he yearns for. As a result he retreats and goes to the only place where he knows he can recreate his relationship with mother nature - in his head, in his dreams. The 'dance macabre' was a favourite medieval theme, connected with the view of the world as mere vanity, where there was the levelling of all social classes and ranks in death. As we destroy nature we will lead all men in this merry dance towards death and destruction. The images I have used speak of wasted landscapes. They remind me of the strange landscapes Max Ernst created.
Workers of the World - relax
You have nothing to lose but your 15 minute tea break after all - check these articles out -
The Abolition of Work by Bob Black - http://www.spunk.org/library/writers/black/sp000156.txt
The Abolition of Work and Other Myths by Neala Schleuning - http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchism/aow.html
Issue 19; land of regression
Images by Macarenses, words by a comrade. This issue questions the faith that man is in a constant state of progression. The developments in science, healthcare, human rights etc are all are there, but there is also increasing proliferation of nuclear weapons and negative climate change etc. Also, the agencies of destruction, the capitalists, the church etc. are still wielding power over individuals. Man is not progressing like some Darwinian prophecy, but in many cases, regressing. Our actions just hurt the weakest in society, the children. They are the future yet there will be no progression for them.
Issue 18; run comrades, the old world is behind you
Inspirational words from the 1968 Paris revolutions have been juxtaposed with images of man's crimes against other men.
Issue 17; review of the year 2004: the images you didn't see
Unlike the typical 'Review of the Year' which appears in all the national newspapers, this is my version. Images of the war on terror form part of distorted faces and bodies. The war on terror has created a distorted view of the world, where aggression by states is part of the course even when faced with overwhelming public demonstrations, both at home and abroad. Justice has been subverted by the American treatment of captives and action has been taken by abusing international bodies like the United Nations. And worst of all backed with an ideology that uses phrases like 'civilising'. The images of distorted humans has been influenced by Ralph Steadman, Roman Cieslewicz and Hannah Hoch.
Rendition (American style, but no doubt coming to a country near you very soon)
What ever can the American Government mean by saying their transferral of terrorist suspects through European airspace was termed ‘rendition’. Let’s see;
Collins Dictionary - 1. a performance of a musical composition, 2. a translation.
Nope that doesn’t really help us. What about the definition of render?;
1. to present or submit, 2. to give or provide, 3. to cause to become, 4. to portray, 5. to translate, 6. to yield or give, 7. to cover the surface of, 8. to extract.
Ah, number 8 is my guess – to extract (fat) from (meat) by melting.
Issue 16; lotus eaters of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your brains
Macarenses is worried about the mental state of readers. The problems in the world push him to the edge, but what effects does it have on others? A test has been devised so readers can look inside themselves and see how they are coping.
Issue 15; the mouth of hell
I have used images portraying man's primal scream. The centre of the journal is an image of a student standing against a tank in Tienamman Square in China. This is the ultimate stand of man v the state. Many have been disheartened when it is one voice against the machinery of the state.
You Are Being Watched! Again
Hope you took notice that from March 2006 almost every car journey will be logged by CCTV and satellite cameras and stored away for reference on a police database. Another case of shrinking civil liberties to put alongside CCTV, ID cards, new police powers and restrictions on peaceful protests etc. Our surveillance society is turning the state into a paranoid leviathan and is criminalising our communities. The state is abusing its powers. They say if you have done nothing wrong you will have nothing to worry about. Yet freedom is fragile – use it or lose it and defend your civil liberties. Who will guard the guards after all.
Fascism is definitely on its way. Can you hear its goosesteps.
Issue 14; graphic voices two (graphic design)
Issue 13; fodder for an enormous mouth
The enormous mouth is the the establishment who are indeed well established. The aristocracy, House of Lords and monarchy represent all that is wrong with the thesis that man has progressed over time. These vestiges of the past are still hanging around, their influence less visible, yet hands still moving. They have protected their position well and today we still don't have a meritocracy. Instead hereditary power still wields, especially with the monarchy at the top of the pile. The images speak of the utter failure of the state to change this travesty. Title from a John Heartfield picture.
We fool you
The annual sham that are the Buckingham Palace accounts have been released. The total cost of keeping the monarchy in the last financial year was £37.3 MILLION. The doublethink from the accountants was that this represented the cost to each taxpayer of 62p per year. The justifications they come up with get more ridiculous. The cost to each taxpayer in previous years was compared to a loaf of bread and two pints of milk or just one minute's worth of attendance at the World Cup game between England and Portugal. This year it is less than the price of two first class stamps. Well that is ok then and these figures have completely changed my mind about the value of the monarchy. They are indeed the ornamental cherry on top of the British state.
Well don't mind if I put my own spin on it as I ask you to look at the BBC in depth report 'Breadline Britain' to see how the other half lives and also the Joseph Rowntree Foundation action on child poverty. The Foundation reports that in 2005, 3.4 MILLION children were living in poverty in the UK. So who do we care of most; the royal family or our children?
Issue 12; freedom shore
This is a realisation that as well as pointing out the problems, there must be alternatives. Hope must be offered and more than that concrete solutions for the future. This was a first attempt and offers more to the actual escape than solutions. I will return to alternatives in future issues......
Issue 9-11; what have we become? Parts 1-3
Words and images tracing how man's simple life has changed. From a simple life that was dictated by nature, where needs were simple and where you were your own master. To a complicated life where life is dictated by raw market forces, where needs are never satisfied by endless consumption and where all decisions about your life are made by others. Now man owns nothing, follows leaders blindly, is separated from extended families and whose body and mind is out of synch with nature. Man is now subsequently in a lost state. The images remind me of theatre stage design and owe a lot to the ideas behind the german expressionists. Also the expressionist film "The Cabinet of Dr Caligari" where the creation of a disordered place emphasizes the mental and physical unbalance of the people and their situation.
Stop giving into the urge to constantly consume. You don't need it whatever it is!! It is an illness called affluenza.
Xmas has just passed and it is that time of year again when the full horror of capitalism comes to bear. The love of money has corrupted the world. Capitalism will never rest as it is a constant dynamic. It is the time of year when there is over consumption of food, drink and resources. We all become fat, lazy, uncreative, unresponsive drones. It is the commercialism of holidays that is the problem. We cannot seem to spend time with families without sale shopping or escaping real life by going to the cinema. The media is all constant stories about companies increased profit and the worries if there is a slight downturn on last years figures. We now measure how successful xmas is by profits and that is worrying. We need a new indicator of progress - perhaps happiness? An outlandish thought I know.
Style over Substance
Ever notice that marketing slogans/taglines are creeping into every facet of our lives? The one that really pisses me off is the slogans now used by public authorities like the police, health organisations etc. We know what these institutions are and we don't need brand taglines to the sell the product to us. If there is a need to sell an institution that is core to our community there is clearly something more fundamental wrong here. These public authorities are using corporate rules and this represents the ever increasing private sector influences. I bet the marketing cost thousands as well. And I though words were cheap, obviously not. The effect is that there is no truth left as it is all spin with style over substance. Slogans mean absolutely nothing!! Some examples -
Grampian Police "Keeping Our Communities Safe", Metropolitan Police "Working Together For A Safer London", Northern Constabulary "Protect And Serve", Central Scotland Police "Together For Safer Communities", Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary "Caring and Protecting", Fife Constabulary "Reinforcing The Quality Of Life In Fife" and Strathclyde Police "Working Together - Building Safer Communities".
No such thing as society
The privatisation of public life is what really hits home. This is a phenomenon happening to all facets of life. Cultural spaces, events, institutions, housing, NHS and dentistry. The people own nothing collectively anymore. We are just individuals.
This is part of the continuing enclosure of resources and means of living, such as water, land and housing around the world. All this means is more ways of managing, exploiting and enclosing us. And still the government does it when it is not their right to sell the social contract. What's next - the air we breathe, our personal space, our thoughts??
Issue 8; graphic voices one (graphic design)
Issue 7; if there is hope it lies in the proles
Mental breakdown stories. Title of course from 1984 by George Orwell. The images are of man assailed by demons like those James Ensor and Goya obsessed about.
Issue 6; their theatre and ours
As Bertrand Russell said: "I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organised by the churches, has been and still is, the principal enemy of moral progress in this world". I would add to that many more examples of being an enemy to man's progress. I am constantly amazed at how religion started, mutated and has ultimately survived. I do though make a separation between organised religion and spirituality. Where man is able to pursue something spiritual that is something commendable. Yet, organised religion when it makes claim to a share in government and tries to instruct people - it has overstepped the mark. The church is still asked for its opinion on moral matters, it still has seats in the House of Lords and it still holds sway over many people across the world. It has embedded itself in the American government, it has become the government in many Muslim countries and it has taken its poisoned view of morals to the developing world. I will do more on this in time..........
Be very scared
Religious fundamentalists are operating in the UK and they are becoming more vocal. Check this group 'Christian Voice' out. Now normally we could ignore this group as insignificant loonies - but - this is the group who recently were up in arms about Jerry Springer The Opera and stopped the shows benefit performance funding of the Maggie's Cancer Centres. And most seriously they got others to take heed of their complaints.
Christian Voice, their website tag is 'The enemies of God are all having their say! It's time to hear the Christian Voice'.
And there are others -
The Christian Congress For Traditional Values
The Christian Institute
(Mary Whitehouse organisation)
But at least someone is making a serious attempt to undermine them with mocking sites and also monitoring their actions. I will help as well.
Issue 5; shut up and keep serving the cause
How we direct aggression against the ones we love and also within ourselves. Our hate has been caused by outside factors and should be turned outwards. Title from a George Grosz picture.
Issue 4; peace in our times
Modern life is too complicated. Our brains cannot cope with all this activity, most of which is rubbish. We are running to stand still and we need to get off the ride.
In the wider attack on marketing evil and our weakness in accepting it = adverts...The worst aspect of this is that the vast majority of the population see no problems with it. They are only small after all. Yet it is the increasing in numbers, frequency and techniques of the adverts that is like a gradual seeping into your soul. I don't know how the companies get away with it - all half-truths, spin and it is legal!. The mistruths build up and the truth is forever twisted. I think deep down people do feel unease at them but they cannot formulate their worries into a meaningful concern. The worry just festers and awaits before it comes out in some way. What has product selling got to do with TV shows anyway you have to ask?? Not enough people are asking the questions WHY things are in such a way; but rather accepting things the way they are. To quote George Bernard Shaw - "Some men see things as they are and ask why? I dream of things that never were and say why not?".
Issue 3; through light to night
We are all becoming lost souls. Stories towards mental breakdown, not just of individuals but of mankind as a whole. Title from a John Heartfield picture.
Issue 2; a sign of our times
Man makes a contract with our government. We give them loyalty in return for protection and to satisfy our needs. This though has been broken time and time again. We are told to engage in the political process yet when we do demonstrate in numbers, we are ignored. People are taking matters into their own hands because of this democratic deficit that is widening all the time. If the contract is continually broken we are entitled to make our own way in the world.
Drop The Pilot
All the political news lately has been about money for peerages. People sound surprised that the country has let things slip so far and question how did we come to this juncture. Well it is simply that the country is run by the very rich. Whether it be party donors and/or corporate interests; money talks and bends influential ears. The political parties are so intertwined with corporate interests that it is no surprise as to the amount of corporate directorships many MP's hold. The conflict of interests is obvious and we are increasingly following the US model of lobbyists and money swilling freely in the trough. The people who hand out these peerages hand them to corporate suits because they assume that a career in maximising profit is the hallmark of success. Filling the House of Lords with suits just re-enforces the belief that the corporate world is only interested in money; whether it be at the cost of human rights, employment law, environmental sustainability etc. Making money may be the rule in the business world; but when corporations become involved more in more in providing services formerly provided by the state, we are in a real danger of putting profit before people.
Issue 1; a small yes and a big no
A voice against the Iraq War using old military posters and cartoons for new purposes. Title is the autobiography of George Grosz.
See 'The Activist' to see what other activists are doing.
THE JOURNAL QUOTES AND NOTES THE ACTIVIST BLOG WUNDERKAMMERN